The Dave Russell Interviews reborn ( Notting Hill Arts- 1967-72)


Hello Good People who read this blog

If you go back in time to my earlier entries you will find some interesting stories about Notting Hill in the 60s and 70s and also Anti-Media activities in the 80s , bits about the gigs before Club Dog etc….

However I have been having problems with technology and the Dave Russell interviews being repeatedly deleted .

Therefore I have re-issued part one of this interview on Youtube. It’s the first time I have ever done anything like this so don’t expect miracles!

Enjoy ! and to read onthe background to the things mentioned in this interview go back to my previous post called

Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Gong and more…(Episode One)

This was written back in the winter of 2007 and the weather today is about the same.

here is part two of the interview for more information go to my previous post

(Episode two) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell -Psychedelic rock bands, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Ralph McTell, Davy Graham, lightshows, poets, and drug-taking in a crypt

Part two

Part Three

of the interview below please see this post for more details:

(Episode Three) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Jazz, Psychedelic Rock Bands, Poetry, Frestonia, Release and Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments

The final part

read more on

(Episode Four) Dave Russell – Notting Hill 1967-1972 The Free School, Destruction in Art Symposium, Friends/Frendz magazine and the Rural Retreat

Love and peace

Born2rant

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My Adolescent Weekend & the Power of Gatherings(Part Deux)


Hello Good People who read this blog

After my last entry which attracted a lot of readers , I thought I’d cheer things up a bit.

In the media the knife crime and violence is taking up every spare moment of our consciousness and although it is obviously important I think I need to brighten things up a bit.

So here we go first of all I will tell you that on a whim, because I happened to have my debit card on me when I went out, I bought a sitar today.

Oh what joy! It’s so cool, I’m making a horrible noise on it but playing the riff from Led Zep’s ” Kashmir” is a doddle. I played for hours and the day’s severe stresses faded into harmonic overtones of OM!

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I wrote an entry originally posted on Sunday night all about my mad weekend and how at my age I probably shouldn’t be enjoying myself so much. In the morning I deleted it because it didn’t follow on from my stories of Notting Hill dodgy places, but what happened is that someone, maybe WordPress somehow translated it into French with one of those daft internet translators that completely distorts the meaning and then linked it to my site so since my petty hedonistic weekend is out there for everyone to read in very strange French I thought I’d re-issue it in English. If you read my blog regularly you’ll notice posts appearing, disappearing, re-edited , translated into Japanese..hmm, it’s got to be done.

I hope you enjoy it. My blog like me likes to flit about from subject to subject and swing from one state of mind to another.

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“My Weekend” by hippie aged 14 (sorry I meant 40 something)

Hello Good People who read this blog!

This blog is getting weirder and more anarchic and spontaneous as time goes on, but that’s ok, that’s what life is like unpredictable , with high and lows, memories and day-to day realities, unexpected joys and nightmares.

I am therefore putting my tales of drug-dealers of the late 70s early eighties in Notting Hill and beyond to one side for now.

I’m going to tell you about my weekend as I am ending it with Glastonbury in the background.

On Friday afternoon having no other commitments I decided on a whim to get a bus up to Speaker’s Corner to go to Nelson Mandela’s birthday party. I didn’t have a ticket of course at £65 pounds a hit well , it’s beyond my budget. But you can sit on the grass and hear it from outside.

At first I went to watch the screens from the gates. You could see the screens clearly, at that point there was Annie Lennox and with an African choir. I have no idea who half the performers I heard or saw were although Eddie Grant got everyone near me dancing and singing “ Give me Hope Joanna!” , Will Smith was great too there were so many performers doing 2 songs each.
There was a great mix of people gathered outside looking at the screens. Wafts of smoke of a fragrant nature, lots of black people of all shades, ages, income brackets, tourists as well as out of town white families with their picnics and dogs, groups of students, all different kinds of people. The crowd was as eclectic as the music..

I couldn’t hear the acts so I moved to a bit of grass closest to the stage where I couldn’t see any screens. Hearing it clearly was more important as was sitting down after a couple of hours.
There were a lot of police and one of the bits of fence nearby was regularly being opened to allow in and out convoys of police escorted black limousines. Naturally we the rabble outside then took the opportunity to get up and crowd around and look inside with the police telling us to move back.

There was this very cheerful pretty black woman in her forties …( actually I’m writing “black” but I have to say I didn’t notice to start with. I know that sounds lame but unless I go out of London for a long time, or someone is extreme in their clothing and “attitude” I often don’t notice what colour people are).
Anyway she was a real laugh and was shouting at the policemen ” Come on give us a smile don’t look so miserable! It’s a birthday party!” and many variations on this.
Later I got talking to her and her friend and we found a gap in a fence to peak through and spent the evening in each other’s company and discussed the artists and politics and had a great time.

At one point another woman who I can only describe as what Amy Winehouse would look like in 25 year’s time with no front teeth, pushed us out of the way , along with her mates all totally off their faces. “I love Amy Winehouse” she shouted and we could tell as she dressed just like her.
Later her boyfriend was arrested and carried away by a couple of police officers. I don’t like to be mean but our evening was slightly improved as a result.

As Amy Winehouse started to sing “ Rehab” her voice was weak and faltering and it was kind of sad and I wondered why on earth someone hasn’t cancelled her gigs yet as she clearly is not well mentally or physically, confirmed by her hitting someone in the audience the following evening at Glastonbury.

I really hope in my dreams that some good people, maybe a bit older who have overcome their own addictions, come to terms with themselves, maybe musicians, could take Amy Winehouse off secretly away from the city, the press, the music biz, the crowds to some calm anonymous cottage by the sea and let her chill out and not be this sad object of fascination for the public. She’s only young, maybe she doesn’t want to go to rehab but she definitely needs rescuing.

Later my new acquaintances managed to succeed in making at least one policeman smile.
We were totally sober but there was a great party atmosphere and it was contagious.

I saw several older black people outside the the fence who were wandering about or sitting on the grass. One woman in her seventies wearing a scarf round her head and the kind of earrings and clothes that to me are characteristically Afro-Caribbean must have made a trip there specially , even though she had trouble walking, Nelson Mandela must have meant a lot to her. I found it very moving to see her there.

Similarly I was standing next to a sharp-suited black gentleman who looked like he was well into his eighties who was smiling to everyone. I don’t think he came to see Queen or Bono.
When Mr. Mandela himself appeared on the stage I got up and rushed to find a screen I could peak at and I found myself quite emotional. He looks so vibrant, he represents hope.

I remember all those years of campaigning, from the “Rock Against Racism” gigs I attended in Brockwell Park to Wembley, years later, people singing “Free Nelson Mandela” . I watched and videoed it at home wishing I’d been in the audience.
That concert made a difference, a political difference and he was freed eventually.

How history and the news was rewritten. Once it was Nelson Mandela the “violent terrorist”, Winnie Mandela the “ever-loyal wife”. I never thought Mandela would ever speak in public again let alone be freed from jail to create a new nation.

I can’t embed this video so here’s the link, copy and paste job . “Free Nelson Mandela” with Amy Winehouse in Hyde park it’s cool.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=tcmGGuwAoJs&feature=related

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Saturday I went to a totally different event. I was invited by a close friend to go an see Brian Wilson at Kenwood , Hampstead Heath. This was the weirdest outdoor gig I have ever been to. I don’t think there was anyone there who hadn’t attended public school. All these people had big sophisticated rugs and groundsheets to mark their territory, with iceboxes and Pringles and stuff.
I went to the Big Chill once, I enjoyed it but its level of middle-class affluence scared me a bit. Who brings a Gazebo and a crate of fine wine to a festival? The organisers provided cocktail bars and “greeters” and even clean loos. It’s just not natural.

Yesterday Brian Wilson and his note-perfect band was great though and a good time was had by all. I enjoyed watching the Japanese couple next to us. They watched drunken groups of young people jumping and jiving about to all the Beach Boys hits in great admiration of their free expression .

The gig seemed to end really fast the music was excellent, the performance and sound improving with our levels of debauchery. Although Brian Wilson did miss out a whole verse of a song, I wouldn’t have realised if he hadn’t said anything.

Before and after the concert and during the intermission there was some guy making a terrible monotone announcement in a public school accent for “Jacques Fruit Cider… the cider with Fruit!”………………

Enjoy Jacque’s fruit cider any time ” etc.. each time he said it everyone laughed and cringed he must have said it 20 times. We were near a free “Jacques cider” tent.
The girls at the Jacque’s taster tent were giving away the stuff by the gallon and we got pretty rat-arsed, none of us drink much and have no resistance to such things, we got through our own bottles of booze and most of Jacque’s cider too. It tasted like very sweet lemonade so it was hard to imagine it was alcoholic.

This made the journey back “interesting.” Standing up was possible but walking was trying, or rather trying to walk involved thought processes close to rocket science.

My friends decided that we wouldn’t leave the conventional way along with everyone else but that we would climb over a fence, with a sign on it saying “Do not on any account climb over this fence” and walk to Hampstead.
We managed the fence, I was proud of myself. We walked a bit more, got more wrecked , watched bats , argued about whether or not they were actually bats, I ranted stupidly telling tales of famous rock stars incoherently and then we found we were actually locked into the grounds of Kenwood House and it was dark.
By this point standing up had become very difficult .We were in our forties behaving like we were fourteen unable to get home. When we eventually found the peripheral gate with 6 foot tall iron fence with rusty menacing spikes on the top , I refused to climb over it although there were several comical attempts to haul me over. They would have been more successful getting a drunken wild horse over that impressive solid iron fence. But once they realised this and gave up, I still couldn’t persuade them to go back to the official exit.

We got out in the end but I am sworn to secrecy how, nothing criminal was done, is all I can say. However we then walked at breakneck speed in pitch dark through woods which was terrifying although I laughed most of the way. The whole thing took about two hours but I guess it was fun since none of us broke any bones in the process.

This is Brian Wilson at Glastonbury 3 years ago( except I can’t embed this one either!) copy and paste this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=4yMR53VcUSk

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Sunday I felt a bit under the weather and I was going to go back to Hyde Park to hear kt Tunstall and The Police. I went for a short walk to the shops and bumped into someone who I think was Hawkwind’s ex-manager, Doug Smith,( who I recognised from the Hawkwind documentary and have seen many times walking down Pembridge Road but then I thought I saw Dave Brock before and it wasn’t, I see so many famous people in the street round here that I just like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume everyone is just famous, I’m short-sighted so this helps with my confusion ) The guy who may or may not have been Doug Smith looked at me partly because I was looking at him and maybe because I have this habit of singing while I walk down the street. I suddenly wondered if he read my blog and if I should say hello. Then out of the blue a few feet further I saw a songwriter I know from North London in a wheelchair , who was very surprised to see me. She said I was her angel as she needed some assistance buying bananas and couldn’t physically enter the shop. It was so weird bumping into 2 people like that one after another who I recognised ( or who I thought I did). London isn’t usually like this but I felt connected for once.

Later after various important emails and phone calls, my friend Dave Russell came round and I interviewed him again. After writing a bit about The Apollo in All Saints Road last time I wanted more info on this and the Black community in Notting Hill in the 70s and 80s.
I forgot all about going to Hyde Park .
The “interview” was really a rambling unplanned hung-over conversation which I will edit and put up in the blog soon.. We ended up watching the Glastonbury festival on my computer, my favourite bit was The Groove Armada, ( it’s rare that I can remember the name of a band beyond 1979..that’s when I stopped trying to remember them) what a show…… Dave wanted to see Suzanne Vega and Joan Baez but although I stayed up late I didn’t see them …..and well that’s my weekend.

Live music and all its ensuing interrelationships is what makes me feel alive and happy.

But I am allowed to embed a bit of Hawkwind definitely my favourite of the three so that’s OK!

Love and peace

Born2rant

P.S. I hope my little journey cheered you up a bit. I have just found out that I have been accepted on a Masters course in Ethnomusicology and I am over the moon and scared but mainly very pleased. Buying the sitar today wasn’t as crazy as I thought , I’ll be needing it for my course!

On London Youth Crime


Hello Good People who read this blog

This is a comment I put on a Channel 4 blog in response to the “Disarming Britain” programmes last night which I thought I would copy here. I hope my son doesn’t mind that I write about him but then he asked me to write this blog to try and point out how our society has changed.

“When I watched Channel 4 last night , all the programmes about youth and knife crime I broke down and cried. It surprised me to react so strongly but I feel we have failed our children so badly.
I could have told you 15 years ago that London youth was heading in this direction.
15 years ago I took my son out of school and home educated him to protect him from violence and attack from boy gangs in school and in the streets to and from school.
I was a single parent and was given an extremely hard time by the authorities both of us were. For years he had been brutalised in school by gangs which they mistakenly called “bullying” and their attitude was always to say that he was bullied because I was a single parent and didn’t look after him properly. It was all my fault and they took no responsibility for controlling the gangs in the school or even acknowledging that they existed.
One of my son’s friends was murdered, shot dead last year for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a sweet caring intelligent peaceful young black man.
I bet those responsible were in a gang and “bullied” other children in school, I bet no one really did much about it.
After I took my son out of school a couple of years later I sent him to Southwark College when he was repeatedly threatened with knives and was attacked. The response of the college when I had a meeting with them was to say that he was being paranoid and imagining it because I was over-protective and clung onto him as a single parent. At Southwark College , this was 12 years ago now, my son’s black friends often brought not just knives but machetes and other weapons into the college, these were the nice kids. They carried these weapons to college because they were so scared. The staff working there and the other schools my son attended were always in denial and basically were more concerned with league tables and Ofsted inspections, many parents like myself who complained were told we were the problem and that there was no problem in the school.
They really were nice polite kids but the mainstream society was/is all about money, appearance, getting ahead, I’m alright jack, competition.. ..no morals basically since Thatcher got in.
What do you expect?
I am of the “love and peace” generation but we were blamed for loose morals, well a fine mess the money -and- TV- fame-and-appearance-is-everything culture has made, I prefer love and peace and understanding and being creative as ethics.
As a result of taking my son away from the violence in schools and home educating him he did extremely well at University and is now a University lecturer himself in Germany. He has sworn never to come back and live in the UK due to the crime and the ” Zero Tolerance” of the police and CCTV cameras which only alienate youth further and doesn’t give them a better place to grow up.
In my opinion we need to make community a priority and let groups of youths have some control and power over their lives , to get them to help set up youth clubs with creative activities that can make them feel good about themselves and give them better ethics.
I also think parents should encourage activities with their children, family activities so that their children do not spend their whole time playing violent computer games getting wired and de-sensitising them from violence. Also to help girls as much as boys as they are also suffering from this rubbish culture we have adopted from the US, we need to look more at cultures where young people are not so troubled , watch less tv, get families to spend more time sharing activities with their children. Families need some help too, if everything is so expensive that parents are either desperate or both parents have to work what do their children get up to? There’s just not enough help out there for families and their children. Not enough good summer holiday facilities for growing children who might be alone for 6 weeks of the year from 11 years old onwards while Mum and Dad are at work.

Love and Peace to you all. Good luck, empower youth with guidance don’t disempower them.”

Born2rant

P.S. They say it takes a village to bring up a child but just look at how many people actually “get involved” or care about what is going on in some sections of London and other cities.

How difficult is it to grow up in a complex stressed out city where crowds of people are anonymous and education systems and laws are constantly changing ,many situations are transitory providing no emotional security.

( I apologise for the inappropriate content of the generated links below! I hope that they change them).